Eleven managers who have been doing meditation for some time now claim that the spiritual dimension changes how business is done. We worked with them at a meeting dedicated to this very topic. Above all, we wanted to hear the thoughts of those who get down to the nitty gritty of business every day, so we held a brainstorming session to tackle these subjects in depth and gain a better grasp of how they interact with one another.
First of all, what is spirituality?
This was the question that kicked off the brainstorming session. It helped us start off by listing the many facets of spirituality which are best suited to the working and corporate sphere.
Those taking part interpreted spirituality in terms of intimate, personal spheres which involve expressing oneself, and a deeper connection with one’s spirit. They also included a crucial dimension in which spirituality becomes part of daily life, affecting relationships and evoking respect, love, empathy and sensitivity. Nor was power overlooked; it conjured up journeys to mystical locations, nature and emotions, as if the inner quest must necessarily correspond with an exterior journey.
What about success… what defines if I am successful or not?
We then went on to cover the term success in the session. We were surprised by what emerged: in no way was success linked to material achievements, much less to status symbols. In all likelihood, the time the participants had just dedicated to thinking about spirituality prompted them to go beyond a more stereotyped interpretation of the term.
So, success turned out to be linked to a dimension which is both personal and intimate, as well as to the team. It embraces personal fulfilment, happiness and joy, as well as involving physical activities and energy, and therefore the physical sensations we experience when we come into contact with the elements, and the sense of freedom this gives. Achieving a goal does evoke the sense of satisfaction we get on reaching the summit of a mountain after a long climb. Lastly, self-esteem plays an important role. But it is vital to share all these aspects with others, including in the family sphere.Success can accordingly be expressed in simple terms, and it can come from inside.
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without any loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
Business is more about light than shadow
Last of all, we tackled the term business. Once again, the effect of the term spirituality in the result of the brainstorming session made itself felt. What prevailed was a sense of teamwork, of exchanges and of trusting colleagues, all of which result in us sharing achievements, successes, ideas and decisions with them. Business also involves aspects we are well aware of, such as sacrifices, working at a fast, frenetic pace, respecting rules, and keeping a close eye on turnover, margins and the ever-present fixed costs. But it also takes courage and creativity, and when we bring the right energy to the task, this term also yields wellbeing, success and fulfilment.
The zafu, the smartphone and the teapot
The last stage of the brainstorming session involved using these three different, quite separate objects as a metaphor to get the group thinking about areas that can link business, spirituality and success.
As with all creative processes, the three objects were picked at random, but all were equally charged with symbolism: the zafu is the meditation cushion; the smartphone is the new office without limitations of time and space; and the teapot is a pot-bellied recipient which can embrace all the values of a business.
With the aim of creating a synergy between business, success and spirituality, the starting point for the participants was a new form of awareness.
Because reflecting on spirituality in the workplace proved just how it can have a profound effect on work. It can help create an emotive approach that generates better links with a long-term vision, and goes beyond the mere impetus of what I want to obtain here and now.
A spiritual approach can define a manager’s attitude, ensuring that success and turnover are no longer the ultimate goal of our actions but instead become an instrument, albeit a crucial one.
The quest for balance becomes more important, ensuring that personal values overlap and combine with company values. The point of view of the individual, where the individual dimension also means inner fulfilment, becomes pivotal, too.
Spirituality changes how we do business
To sum up, Spirituality indicates an inner quest which changes business and success. At the same time, it becomes its hallmark.
We firmly believe that the value of any business activity is linked to the intentions that motivate entrepreneurs and their managers, and the way they decide to go about achieving the company’s mission each day.
We also believe spirituality offers an opportunity to work on these motivations which is different in nature, and somehow meets the need for ethics and meaning increasingly making itself felt nowadays.
Alessia Tanzi – Susanna Cesarini